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SEFEN   <TENTS    OF   ^MEDICINE

marvel over what I saw. I have never seen any
old Indian who could explain it.

An hour or so preceding one of these medicine
lodges the camp crier would go through the camp
crying out the news that the 'medicine-man was
preparing to talk with the spirits5. This caused
great excitement in camp. The entire tribe
would go early to the medicine lodge in order to
get seats; for only about one hundred could get
inside of the lodge, and the rest had to stay outside
and listen to the weird ceremony. Our mother
would take us children with her and bundle us
close to her on the women's side of the lodge.

As we sat and looked on with eyes agape, the
medicine-man's assistant would erect four poles in
the centre of the big lodge and tie them together
at the top in tripod fashion. Under these poles
there was an area about twelve feet across. In
this area the assistant, with the help of four men3
would drive into the ground a series of sharp pegs,
placing them at intervals of about an inch apart
until the entire area was covered. These pegs
were so sharp at the top that they would go
through a man's foot if stepped upon. In the
centre of the twelve-foot area a little square was
left clear, a place just large enough for a man to
stand in. The only way one could reach this area
over the sharp pegs was to jump into it, and that
seemingly would mean serious injury or death*